My Blog

So tired of seeing that same first post on this page!

No, I’m not blogging again. But really, I was so tired of seeing an old post about going to Palm Desert here I just had to change it. So, today is Friday. It’s the second half of November and we still haven’t had snow. Crazy!

This afternoon Sue and I are going to Winnipeg — first to do a bit of shopping, and then we’re going to friends’ house for dinner.

And now it’s almost time to go. So, adios. We’re off to Winnipeg. How’s that for excitement!

Goodbye Steinbach, Hello Palm Desert

A long busy day of packing and saying goodbyes. The plan is to leave early tomorrow morning for Palm Desert. A long first day of driving.

Sue says goodbye to Max the afternoon before we leave for Palm Desert.
Sue says goodbye to Max the afternoon before we leave for Palm Desert.

We cleaned up the house — got rid of all the Christmas stuff. Sue did laundry, vacuumed, cleaned out the upstairs fridge. The kids came over with Max for a bit. We said goodbyes. We went to visit first Sue’s mom, then my parents, and said goodbye.

I’m looking forward to the next few months. I’m looking forward to warmer weather. I’m looking forward to golfing. I’m looking forward to hanging out with Sue full-time.

I’ll miss a lot of things about home too. I’ll especially miss my family, and my little grandson. But I hope that we will be able to Skype regularly and that our kids can come visit us this winter. I’m looking forward to that, too.

Merry Christmas

Just so you know I’m still alive, here’s another post. It’s 7 in the morning, Christmas morning. Freezing cold outside. Freezing. And our ‘Nest’ energy-saving thermostat has it pretty cold INSIDE too.

Sue is making coffee. Sue is making another big feast for the second Christmas family gathering at our house this season — today it’s the Nikkel gathering. There will be a lot of cooking here today.

My desk is a mess. Papers and sticky notes everywhere. I need to clean this up. I’ve had my computer apart this past week — replaced the internal drive with a 256GB SSD drive and moved extra files to an external 2TB Passport drive. Re-installed Mountain Lion. Got my Macbook Air all cleaned up and ready to go too. And I’ve sent out most of my end-of-year invoices. Cleaning up.

Starting to think about heading south at the end of the week. Palm Desert. I’m looking forward to it. First year away since Max was born. We’ll miss him. A lot. We hope he’ll come visit us while we’re down there in California.

Maxwell James - 11-2012¬†Hey, I don’t think I’ve actually mentioned Max here on this blog. I’ll get a picture of him. That’s him there. Great photo (by David Klassen, friend of Tim and Alex). It was on the Christmas card the kids sent out. Very cute.

We had Christmas last night at Tim and Alex’s. Sue and I babysat while the kids went to church. Then we had supper and chocolates and opened gifts. Nice.

Okay, that’s the news from here. Did I say it’s cold? Yeah, it’s freezing cold. But now Sue has brought me a cup of coffee, the Byrds are playing on my itunes, and it’s time to get on with the day. Merry Christmas.

Snowy Thanksgiving Weekend

Just finished my Saturday bacon-and-eggs breakfast. Snow outside is starting to melt — it may actually all melt and allow Tim to go golfing at his scheduled 1:30pm tee time today after all. The Dehnes (the German couple we met at Peggy’s Cove this summer) were here for Friday night — and have now arrived safely in Brandon. Our first grandson has still not made his official appearance — Tim and Alex were over for supper last night and that little schnerps is really testing Alexandra’s patience. But all is well and that’s what really matters. Ed and Val are coming over for supper tonight. Now I am going to go sit down in my (new) favorite chair and read the latest David Bergen book, Hope. Maybe I’ll tackle the New York Times crossword puzzle in the weekend edition of the Free Press (if it ever arrives — it’s 9:30 and there’s still no paper!). I’ve started up iTunes and today’s playlist is already going strong.

Nope, not going away for the weekend after all!

So Ingrid calls and tells me that she’s reading my blog. What? Really? Reading my blog?

Okay Ingrid, here’s an update:

NOT going to Park Rapids. We’re wimping out. But the upside is that I don’t have to miss week 3 of my Friday night ‘Neil Young’ course at McNally-Robinson. And on Sunday we’ll go celebrate a 60th birthday for some friends of ours. Plus, I hope to be able to watch a bit of NFL on Sunday.

And MAYBE I can squeeze in a game of golf in there somewhere. That is, unless I have to go visit the doctor or something else as exciting as that!

It’s almost Fall

It’s Monday. A beautiful fall day. Since we have our windows open at night, it was 19 degrees in our house this morning. Time to log into my ‘Nest’ thermostat and switch it to the ‘heat’ mode. In a few days the actual autumnal equinox will cause the sun to reflect its light directly west of the 2 upper windows in our bedroom — an alignment that we get to see only twice a year. I’ll have to stay in bed until at least 7:30 to witness it.

I’ve not written in my blog for quite some time. The last entry was the first of what was to be a regular update on our trip to the east coast — I guess I’ll have to remove that ‘Cabot Trail’ entry from my menu. It already seems like that happened a long time ago. I haven’t ridden my bike since the last day of the cycling trip. In fact, on Saturday I went to Bikes and Beyond in Winnipeg to pick up my bike — had the chain replaced so it will be ready for this weekend’s “Headwaters 100” ride in Park Rapids.

Saturday was also Tadeo’s second birthday; we took Mom and Dad in to Winnipeg with us and enjoyed a piece of birthday cake at Stan and Irmy’s. Then in the evening we had Dave and Lois over for dinner — celebrating Lois’s birthday. Yesterday Sue and I read in the morning and then got picked up by Tim and Alex to go golfing at the Fly-in for 3 o’clock. It was cool but fun. Alex rode the cart and froze. We had smokies and beer when we got home from golf and we watched Sunday Night Football.

Tonight Sue has book club in Winnipeg. And I’ll stay home and watch Monday Night Football. Maybe i’ll turn on the fireplace.

Packed and ready to go

It’s the evening before I leave. Tomorrow morning I’ll head to Winnipeg with my van all packed. I’ll add Walter’s bikes and camping gear to the load and the two Nikkel brothers will hit the road for Halifax. Tonight I think we will probably take the Canadian route east, and then return via the US route.

I feel a little bad about packing Walter’s Thule carrier completely full with MY stuff — but maybe we can sort that out tomorrow morning. My guess is that we will make it to Thunder Bay for tomorrow night — our first night of camping. I’ve got to try out our old Coleman tent which hasn’t been used for nearly 8 years.

Sue and Angie will be flying out to Halifax next week Monday; we’ll pick them up at the airport and head out to Port Hawkesbury, just across the causeway to Cape Breton, from where our 8-day bike tour will depart next Wednesday.

I’ve been getting regular email updates from Werner and Karen — they’re on the way from Vancouver to Calgary on bikes. Tonight they are in the Banff campground with 2 days of cycling still ahead of them. Hope our Cape Breton adventure goes as smoothly.

Hot as summer…

It’s been so hot for the last week. Tonight we’re sitting outside and the temperature is just perfect. Birds are singing. Frogs are croaking. The neighbour’s air conditioner finally switched off. Out in the distance you can hear a motorcycle rev up as it heads north on the number twelve highway. Sue is sitting in the lounger working on a crossword. I had a little snooze on the couch after supper. Soon it is time to go for an ice cream. Good as it gets.

Middle of June!

Hey, it’s the middle of June already! Mom’s 80th birthday celebration has come and gone. So has Linda, who came here for the party and whom I brought back to the airport today. And Alex is off on our ‘big event’ — an overnight with her grade 6 class at the museum in Winnipeg. And Tim is just finishing up the silicone on the new tub enclosure in the bathroom. And Sue and Rudy both missed their Wednesday night golf dates tonight.

But the lawn is mowed. Rain is in the forecast. WordPress is updated to version 3.4. All is well.

At the hospital

This morning I went to the hospital. No, not sick. My doctor ordered some routine blood tests for me. He advised me to fast, and to be at the hospital 15 minutes before the official 8:00 opening time. That way I wouldn’t have to wait so long.

Hmmm… not sure about that last part. I got up early, showered, did NOT make coffee, put on my rain jacket, and walked down to the Bethesda. Got there at quarter to eight. Check-in. Can I just go down to the lab? No, sit here and we’ll call you. So I join a throng of waiting patients hoping to get their tests early.

I don’t spend a lot of time at the hospital. Or at the doctor’s. So this is a bit of an eye-opening experience for me.

I recognize a few of the other waiting patients. I don’t really want to visit with anyone here. So I go sit in the last row of chairs and study the ‘donor’ wall of fame. Nope, the Nikkels are not on there. That’s weird. I thought we were sending in our annual cheques. There’s a few plaques for some of our friends, but no Rudy and Sue, no Nikkel Holdings, no Holiday Travel. i’ll check into that.

The waiting room seems to equalize the classes — there’s MF (or FM, as I like to call him). And Mrs GP. But there’s also a bunch of immigrants; moms with kids, speaking Spanish, speaking French, speaking another language I don’t recognize. And we’re all here together. and there’s nothing cool about this.

After hearing the nurse who has to find each patient’s file call out everyone I know and quite a few more, she finally calls for “Rudolf Nikkel”. It’s finally my turn to have my blood test. But no, not yet. I follow the yellow arrows on the floor and they lead me to another waiting room. Hmmm… I sit down. The lady across from me motions that I need to ‘take a number’ — she’s got number 9. I get number 10. And I wait some more.

Eventually, after alternately avoiding eye contact and staring at the two big guys sitting across from me, it’s time for number 10. I follow the girl into the room where 2 other patients are getting their arms poked.

She draws 3 vials from me and then hands me a cup to fill. I go into the big bathroom and pee into the cup. I park the warm cup on the counter and then stand there wondering what’s next. Oh, I have to also have a heart test. But the other lady is ahead of me so it’s back to the waiting room. The same two guys are still sitting in the same chairs, across from me.

Finally, about 2 hours after I left home for my early morning beat-the-rush blood test, I am in the heart test room. The woman tells me to remove my shirt and lie down on the bed. I can keep my shoes on. She sticks about a dozen stickers all over my chest, and then attaches probes to each sticker. Don’t move. I hear her printer spitting out a ream of paper. Then she rips off the probes, peels off the stickers, and tells me I’m done. I get dressed and walk out of the hospital. Done for today.

I march home in the mist. I am seriously late for my first cup of coffee. The fast is over.